Monthly Archives: March 2018

The Luck of the Irish☘️

I found out 5 years ago that I’m Irish! Prior to that, I had no clue what my ancestry was. Well, maybe some subtle clues: I’m pale, I have green eyes, I’m friendly and optimistic, I’m obsessed with the weather, and I can’t take a compliment easily. But, I didn’t use a DNA service to discover my lucky heritage; my birth family found me. You see, I was born in Quebec and given up for adoption. Quebec is one of the few provinces in Canada whose adoption records are closed. In 1984, families could begin the registration process for government sanctioned searches; there are thousands of applications and the searches are often fruitless or they can take years. It is estimated that 300,000 adoptions took place in Quebec prior to the 1984 change in provincial legislation.

I was one of the lucky ones! Lucky that my family initiated the search, because I had no information of the details of my birth or my birth family (this is what a closed adoption means). There is no central registry in the province, so adoptees would need to know the agency that handled their adoption; there are many. I am lucky that my birth family found me, lucky that my mom and dad who raised me were the best parents a person could ask for, and lucky that I grew up with my adopted brother Michael. We always knew that we were adopted, because our mom and dad told us how lucky they were to have us 🙂

When a social worker named Carol Barrs called from Batshaw Youth and Family Centre in Montreal 5 years ago, I was completely blown away! I had thought of my birth mother a lot over the years, especially on Mother’s Day, on my birthday, and on the births of my children. Oddly, I rarely considered my birth father, so when the social worker told me that my parents married a year after I was born and that I had two sisters and two brothers, and a grandmother, and that they were worried about me, loved me, and missed me, I could not believe my luck! And then, when Carol told me the names of my grandmother, parents and siblings, I knew that I had won the ancestral lottery: Granny Mary, Patrick (Paddy), Catherine, Linda, Patrick Jr., Tim, and Shannon. I am Irish. I always wanted to be Irish, especially on St. Paddy’s!

Granny Mary will be 90 years old next month; she is so strong, and smart, and cool, and I am lucky to have a relationship with her. My parent’s search to find me was expedited by Batshaw when my father was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. I am extremely lucky that I had 2 years to get to know Paddy. He was hard-working, witty, loving, and proudly Irish. Did you know that when someone says “Top of the morning to you,” the correct response is, “and the rest of the day to yourself” Paddy taught me that💚

So, it’s official. I’m Irish and I am so proud, and so lucky, and so are my children. The Luck of the Irish originated during the gold rush when successful miners were typically Irish. I think their ‘luck’ came from tenacity, stubbornness, hard-work, and dedication to their families. The term was derisive to begin with because the Irish were known to be fun-loving, but it has evolved to encompass a day when people from all cultures want to be Irish.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day☘️

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Reunion Day!

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Granny Mary (aka Granny Dynamite)

💚 The full story of my reunion is published on My Walsh’s page 💚

Shine On

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Featured Image: The Universal Female Symbol

My incredibly awesome sister Shannon Walsh shared Will Smith’s Facebook video Set Your Life on Fire, and tagged all the woman in her life who have fanned her flame to celebrate International Woman’s Day. I love the message that Will delivers, and not just for woman. I believe that the sole purpose of our existence on earth is to help each other; that’s it. In the video, Will talks about surrounding yourself with people that let you shine your light in a way that only he can.

Enjoy the video, and thanks to all the women (and men) in my life who ‘nourish and inspire’ me.

 

Flow

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Featured Image: Choppy waves and a lone surfer on a craggy beach

I am going to be in front a class tomorrow for the first time; I’m actually going to be teaching a lesson!! The mini lessons that I delivered in PIDP 3220 don’t count because they were mock lessons that I presented to my classmates and to our instructor: I learned a lot from that experience, like how NOT to deliver a lesson! That is, do not stand at the front of the class and recite boring information that ‘I’ think is important.

A recent PIDP 3250 class discussion topic has been on Flow in the classroom, whereas the instructor and/or the learner experience complete immersion and involvement in the task at hand and time seems irrelevant. One of my classmates introduced the following link from The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California Berkley:

8 Tips for Fostering Flow in the Classroom

And another classmate paraphrased the 8 tips (my intentions are in parenthesis). I will follow this advice tomorrow because the purpose is not how well I know my topic, it is how well I can convey it in an engaging way to my students.

  1. Challenge, but not too much (I can do that)
  2. Make material relevant (read my audience and do not ‘preach to the choir’)
  3. Encourage choice (allow learners to choose their activities: I’m not sure how this will work)
  4. Set clear goals (and give positive constructive feedback along the way)
  5. Build positive relationships (focus on learner-centred instruction, and be authentic)
  6. Foster deep connection (I’ll try not to interrupt the learning process if students are engaged in a discussion or activity)
  7. Offer hand-on exercises (got it)
  8. Make ’em laugh (either at me or with me: I will try to please!)

Wish me luck!!

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 5.10.45 PM I took the photo in this post at Wickininnish Beach BC. My daughter Rachel is gleefully shredding the gnar! If she can do it, so can I.

Mindfulness Squared

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Featured Image: Ski tips on the verge of dropping into an untouched powdery snow slope (aka: heaven on earth)

I have been trying to reduce chaos in my personal and professional life, and I recently posted on mindfulness. My goal is to maintain my hectic pace of work, school, and life without sacrificing my well-being: rest, reading (for pleasure), skiing, eating good food, drinking good wine, and most importantly, spending time with my family (my favourite). It’s hard to find a balance without minimizing any aspect of the chaos that I call ‘my one chance on this blue and green planet.’ In doing so, this is the best explanation and recipe for mindfulness that I have come across:

http://blog.ctrinstitute.com/mindfulness-work-play/

The easy to follow tips for practicing daily mindfulness are my ticket to making the most of my precious time, and it will permit me to be my best self for my family, friends, and colleagues. One of the tips suggest setting an alarm on my phone and taking a deep breath when it rings – this tip may also change the negative perceptions that I associate with alarms 🙂

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 5.10.45 PM I took the above photo at Big White Ski Resort: My S7’s and I practicing mindfulness.